As some of you may have seen in the past week, Antigravity Magazine recently published a story (Get Behind the Mask, February 2017) disparaging the Fraternal Order of Police and law enforcement generally. Most importantly, author Jules Bentley leveled a serious allegation directed at a fictitious NOPD officer in her feature.
While I in no way wish to legitimize this fringe publication, it is troubling to consider that this writer is also a frequent contributor to Gambit Weekly. The FOP takes seriously the growing number of platforms in which conspiracy theorists spread nonsense and outright falsehoods that damage our relationship with the communities we serve. In such instances I make no distinction between legitimate media and this gratis alternative rag – if it has a circulation, the editorial board has a responsibility to fact-check. If they refuse to fact-check, the FOP will step in to rebuke such openly false claims.
Bentley’s incoherent stream-of-consciousness story makes little sense as it weaves between Nazis, police, and untruthful allegations of police misconduct during recent anti-Trump protests; the relevant excerpt can be found in the initial message of the email chain pasted below.
As always, the Fraternal Order of Police, New Orleans, remains vigilant in protecting our members (both real and fictional) and our profession from outright lies and we believe our duty to do so applies especially when such allegations are made in a public forum. While the exchange is humorous, keep in mind that at least some number of readers of this magazine believe this is journalism and the claims to be factual.
To: Jules Bentley and Editorial Board, Antigravity Magazine (February 9, 2017)
From: Jacob Lundy, Fraternal Order of Police
First of all, happy New Years to all who happen by this blog. 2016 is behind us and that is probably a good thing. 2017 will present some new challenges for law enforcement and the Fraternal Order of Police will be there for its members. I would like to extend my usual invitation to any FOP members who would like to advocate on behalf of themselves and other law enforcement officers. The FOP is an organization run by its members on behalf of its members. If you want to be involved, all you have to do is let someone know.
The FOP Legal Defense Plan continues to be the best legal plan available to law enforcement officers. In 2016, there were some significant changes made to the NOPD disciplinary system. While these changes were effective in May, 2016, the impact wasn’t felt until late in the year. In 2017, we will feel the full brunt of these changes and I believe the end result will be more suspensions and more Civil Service appeals. There could be instances where you would expect a letter of reprimand which may end up being a 30-day suspension.
Late in 2016, I heard more than once “I can’t believe the FOP agreed to these changes (to the disciplinary system).” The fact is that the FOP did not agree to these changes. We were given an opportunity to comment on the new disciplinary policy. I was the only one to submit comments. I submitted several several pages of comments. The next time I saw the policy, it was in its current form. Several of our comments were put into the new policy, but there were plenty of comments that were disregarded. That was the extent of the input into the current disciplinary policy. So, what we now have is a system which makes it much easier for a violation to be a second or third offense. In addition, one of the procedural safeguards which existed previously was changed. Like I said – more suspensions and more appeals. Please don’t hesitate to call if you are the accused or a witness in a disciplinary investigation. You may think the allegation is minor or whatever, and it may be. But, will it can never hurt to call your FOP attorney. No case is too nsignificsnt.
In 2016, I represented 398 individual police officers in some fashion. I represented officers in:
- 228 statements or interviews
- 76 Bureau Chief or Commander’s Disciplinary Hearings
- 7 Pre-Disposition Conferences (new policy)
- 36 Accident Review Board Hearings
- 51 appearances before the Civil Service Commission
- 23 Civil Service appeal hearings
Livaccari Law also helped numerous officers with automobile accidents, both on-duty and off. We also created wills, living wills, and power of attorney for FOP members and handled several successions. While Livaccari Law does not practice family law, the FOP has a good family law benefit and I was able to direct a number of officers in the right direction to get the assistance they needed.
Some public safety watchers greet the January 3rd, 2017 return of the ” Targeted Marigny, ” to the New Orleans Police Department’s 5th District with alarm and skepticism.
Currently in the French Quarter-focused 8th District, its robust violent crime statistics, critics say, will now be added to the 5th Districts loaded ledger. Less suspicious, but equally concerned, observers wonder about active complaints and investigations which may soon land in limbo. They join skeptics in asking, is moving the ” Targeted Marigny ” to the incident-rich 5th District a move in the right direction?
-Nadra Enzi aka Cap Black, RLSH. Creator,#CapBlackStreetPatrol. *Walking escorts* *Victim advocacy* Last but never least, police support
In spite of the near constant media coverage of officer involved shootings, they are so rare that most officers have no idea what is going to happen when they find themselves in those situations. As of October 1, 2016, there has only been one officer involved shooting in New Orleans. I am hoping this trend of not having officer involved shootings continues. If, however, an officer is involved in an officer involved shooting, he or she should know what to expect. For the most part, this article is particularly about New Orleans, but there are bound to be similarities to other jurisdictions.
First of all, I recommend that once it is safe to do so that you call your FOP attorney. I have been on the scene of almost every officer involved shooting in the past several years, and I will continue to respond in an officer’s time of need.
Every officer involved in an officer involved shooting is the subject of a criminal investigation. There could also be an administrative investigation, depending on the circumstances.
It is most important that an officer make sure a scene is safe, or as safe as possible, following an officer involved shooting. Make sure enough backup has been requested and the proper notifications have been made. If the scene is not safe, take cover or do whatever is necessary to make the scene as safe as possible. Make sure emergency medical services have been ordered for anyone injured and the scene is safe enough for EMS to respond.
Once enough officers have arrived to secure the scene, any officers involved in actually firing a weapon will be sequestered. That means that if you are the officer who had to pull the trigger, you will be removed from active participation in the scene and put in an area by yourself. That usually means sitting in a car by yourself in a safe location.
IT IS VERY IMPORTANT that you are aware of your body-worn camera. It should be turned off as soon as you are removed from active participation in the scene. You also need supervisory approval to turn off the camera. So, as soon as you are sequestered, ask a supervisor for permission to turn off the body-worn camera. Also, be aware of what you say when the camera is running. While you certainly want to tell other responding officers of any imminent danger or about evidence which might be lost or damaged, you do not want to discuss how the shooting came to be at this point in time. I have witnessed well-meaning rank asking officers “what happened” while the camera was recording. It just isn’t in anyone’s best interest to answer that question on video in the middle of a stressful situation before all of the information is available.
It is my experience that I usually get to a scene shortly after an officer has been sequestered. I have gotten there before cameras were turned off though and you certainly don’t want to have privileged conversations with your attorney being recorded on a body-worn camera. Same thing for dash camera.
One of the first things to do is call your family members and let them know you are safe. There will undoubtedly be some type of media coverage and you don’t want your loved ones worrying about your safety.
After being involved in an officer involved shooting, you generally have to do three things:
- Give a public safety statement;
- Walthrough; and
- Complete a Force Statement
The public safety statement will take place shortly after the officer is sequestered. The short interview will be conducted by the PIB Force Investigation Team (FIT). There will likely be a a number of other people present, but only one will ask questions. The questions are limited to issues which have the potential for impacting the safety of police personnel or the public and information about evidence.
For example, a public safety statement could include the questions
- “How many perpetrators were there?”
- “Where did the other perpetrator run?”
- “Did the other perpetrator have a weapon?”
- “What was the other perpetrator’s description?”
- “Where should there be shell casings?”
The public safety statement generally takes less than 5 minutes.
PIB will take your body-worn camera and the Academy will take the weapon used. If they take your service weapon, they will issue you a loaner.
You will also be expected to do a “walk-through” of the incident. It is a strange thing and I’m not quite sure what the purpose is. You will be be required to walk through the events leading to the shooting without any verbal narrative. You won’t be asked any questions or expected to say anything. I guess I have seen this lead to information relative to the location of shell casings and the preservation of evidence.
You are also required to complete a Force Statement. I don’t want to get into the nuts and bolts of the Force Statement here, but I have found that the time sitting around sequestered is generally a good time to get the Force Statement written. It gives you an opportunity to write it and discuss with your attorney prior to submitting the Force Statement.
The Force Statement is an administrative document only. It is not shared with the criminal investigators. It is important to be accurate and thorough with the Force Statement.
Generally, that is about it. Officers who are involved in a fatal officer involved shooting will likely be placed on administrative reassignment and sent home. You get to spend an ample amount of time by yourself. This isn’t always the best thing as it leaves you to replay the events in your mind while wondering what is going on around you.
It is good to have your FOP attorney with you for a number of reasons. It is important to get the necessary information conveyed and to make sure your rights are protected. It is also helpful to have someone who can tell you who everyone is and what they are doing.
I hope it doesn’t happen to you. But, if it does, I will be available for you.
|Current police reform mania goes deeper than liberal allegations of bias and libertarian mistrust of armed authority. Objective police supporters can at least have civil discourse with these ideologies.
I contend reasonable liberal and libertarian voices have been lost amid a howling rogues gallery swarming in from serious anarchist domestic terrorist and inner city criminal extremes. These extremes forgo tame reform like civilian oversight or body cameras. They want police to bow down to mindless rage at traffic stops and frenzied disruption marches masquerading as peaceful protests. Abolition of police period is the ultimate stated objective.
Picture an America run by unhinged suburban socialists and inner city gangs with police and civilian self-defense made extinct? They want a monopoly on force and Fergueson, Baltimore, Milwaukee, Dallas and Baton Rouge graphically show how they’ll use it. This is national captivity these rogues envision, not police demilitarization championed by US Senator Rand Paul and the NAACP after the Fergueson riots.
They don’t want constitutional policing ala ACLU recommendations. Reasonable liberals and libertarians should cease legitimizing rogues by calmly excusing inexcusable excesses. These rogues will eventually turn on them for being mainstream after serving their purpose. When liberal and libertarian sympathizers get beaten or shot, the rogues will have shed any pretense of reason. I suggest reasonable reformers unite with police supporters before it’s too late.
A reign of epic ignorance and violence is at hand and only a united public can stop it. Otherwise, America would become a Mad Max movie set, where inmates run the asylum and hostages run for their lives. Liberal civil rights, conservative traditional values and libertarian civil liberties cease to exist. That’s the sick social order, when rogues rule.
-Nadra Enzi aka Cap Black, Your UrbanSafetyist. @nadraenzi on twitter.
*AUTHOR’S NOTE: The public safety/policing tie-in to this post is how this case illustrates what I call, ” urban outcast ” consciousness. A steady diet of alienating rhetoric produces violent criminals, rioters and enablers from communities that can’t absorb more mayhem. It’s the basis of my ” Make Peace With America ” talk given in many forms and venues over the years as a grassroots attempt at deprogramming. Those who don’t stand for the National Anthem also remain seated when cops are killed and also during canvasses for witnesses after yet another urban hostage dies because of stray gun fire.*
As someone who stands during the Pledge of Allegiance ( raised by a Jim Crow vintage grandmother who always stood on arthritic knees and nerve-damaged feet when it played on TV ), I’m not angered by NFL player Colin Kaepernick‘s refusal to stand during this national tradition.
view of America as if no progress has happened. It’s part of a calculated hostility which must be deleted.
-Nadra Enzi aka Cap Black, Your UrbanSafetyist. @nadraenzi on twitter.
Yesterday, a street cop friend and I had our usual informal, free wheeling policy talk. We discussed two of my favorite alternative public safety models, the British police community support officer ( PCSO ) and the global Guardian Angels street patrol, founded in New York.
He vetoed the PCSO concept, stating that non-police officers like animal control and parking enforcement already exist which can issue summons. His opinion was identical to a public position taken by the Police Association of New Orleans ( PANO ) president regarding the now-defunct Nola Patrol. Nola Patrol was to address quality of life, parking and traffic concerns in the French Quarter. The PANO head noted NOPD; parking enforcement and public safety rangers already addressed those issues. I appreciate reluctance to duplicate PCSOs in America. British police unions-unsuccessfully- opposed them, too. Active duty police feel more officers, not specialized spin offs, are the answer to crime suppression.
New Orleans Police Department has serious recruitment and retention problems, while violent crime soars upward. He also felt the Guardian Angels should be replaced by engaged communities solving problems en masse, instead of full contact volunteers.
Engaged community is the heart of my UrbanSafetyism, where we create safety instead of awaiting rationing from public and private sources. Our talk ended with agreement upon increased police staffing and community action as solutions agreeable to any reasonable person. Engaging communities is quicker than awaiting recruits to complete the academy and field training.
Urban stakeholders and police have common ground which shouldn’t be surrendered to well publicized agitators opposed to consensus.
Consensus, not conflict, creates safety.
-Nadra Enzi aka Cap Black, Your UrbanSafetyist. @nadraenzi on twitter.
This analysis, compiled by the Dolan Consulting Group, is one of the most thorough I have seen. It is a little long, but worth the time it takes to read.
Click here to download Dispelling the Myths Surrounding Police Use of Letha Force (.pdf)